Scott Ruscoe is hoping his side will improve in the right areas as they prepare for a series of friendlies in the coming weeks.

The New Saints travel to take on Barry Town United in a behind closed doors friendly on Saturday, as the intensity of their pre-season increases in preparation for the Europa League qualifiers.

Ruscoe’s side have focused on improving at both ends of the pitch in training ahead of the upcoming season.

He said: “All the things we’ve been doing in training over the past few weeks has been looking at things we need to improve on ahead of the season.

“Defensively we let too many goals in last season so we’re looking to tighten up there.

“Going forward, we want to create a lot more chances and want to keep the ball for longer periods without giving the opposition the chance to break on us.

“These are things we’ve been working on day in, day out, and we’re looking forward to having a good test and a close game with Barry.

“It will be a chance for the lads to get a good 45 to 60 minutes under their belts ahead of a match against Wolverhampton Wanderers under-23s next Tuesday as well.”

With three friendlies coming up in the next 10 days, Ruscoe hopes his players will take their desire from training into the matches.

“The lads are looking forward to getting back out there,” he said. “It has been a good three or four weeks of training leading up to now.

“It’s been nice to see everyone after so long out and the training has been really intense.

“You can see the hunger from the players is there after being stuck in the house for so long.

“They’ve just wanted to get back to doing what they love and you can see that in the positive attitude they have all in training.”

The Saints boss hopes more friendlies with tough opposition will follow the matches he already has arranged, and believes a variety of opponents will help his side’s preparation for European competition.

He explained: “It takes different preparation as you’re going into the unknown a bit.

“Obviously if we get a home draw it’ll hopefully be one that will favour us.

“With European competition, you don’t know much about the team, so you have to learn the way they play and what players will be playing for them.

“We know about the teams in the Welsh league and play them every week, but playing in a European competition you have a bit more research and homework.”